Seattle, Washington

4/1/2017 - 4/2/2017

Join us in Seattle and you will learn more than you ever thought possible … in just two days!

This Weekend Intensive is designed to strip away all the fluff, and get down to what actually matters when you enroll in a photo course: Becoming a better photographer!

To ensure that you return home on Sunday with skills you can begin to use immediately, your Weekend Intensive learning experience will teach you how to achieve perfect exposure in a variety of situations, how to read and understand your histogram, how to create effective compositions, which lenses are right for different subjects, how to use negative space when composing an image … just to name a few!

Here’s how it works:

After an all-group introduction session on Saturday morning, you decide which track is right for you – Basic or Intermediate – for the first small group session of the weekend. Based on your level of experience and current knowledge base, you will either learn the building blocks of photography or more advanced concepts.

From there, the large group reunites with both instructors to expand upon the morning session with two afternoon sessions on Saturday and one on Sunday morning, covering topics that are applicable to all photographers regardless of skill level.

Breaking into small groups once again, session 5 on Sunday morning allows you to delve deeper into a genre of photography that interests you the most: People or Landscape photography. To cap things off, the group critique session ties together all the topics learned throughout the weekend by giving you the opportunity to see and hear what two professional photographers have to say about one of your images, and offer suggestions on how you might improve.

A Weekend Intensive includes:

  • Pre-weekend instructional videos
  • A comprehensive 70-page PDF handout
  • Live demos during the event
  • A professional critique of your work
  • Post-weekend assignments
  • More content packed into two days than you thought possible!
Tuition: $199
This course is past its starting date.
Groups of 5 or more can save $20/person. Email Bob McGowan at to set up your group code.


Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson is a Colorado native now living in Missoula, Montana. Before a life-changing pursuit of photographic art, he was an outdoor educator for more than 20 years, passionately teaching people backcountry skills in navigation, mountaineering, avalanche awareness and wilderness first aid. Since graduating from RMSP’s Summer Intensive program in 1996, Doug’s work has covered many diverse projects in the documentary, commercial, fine art and educational fields. Assignments have taken him from coyote shooting in Wyoming to the last stages of a woman’s life to the graffiti-covered alleys and abandoned buildings of Denver. He is currently involved in an ongoing project called Art Music, which fuses the art of photography with live musical performance. His educational philosophy is fun, intuitive and full of creative persistence. No matter where you are in your photographic journey, Doug’s balance of the aesthetic with the technical can help you further express your unique vision.



Mary Brunst

Mary Brunst, a portrait, wedding and editorial photographer, considers herself to be a smile-loving, adventurous soul. She is a go-getter, big dreamer, and a messy perfectionist. Photography for her is a way to focus on what is good and to cherish some of life’s happiest moments. Mary loves getting to document life as it happens, creating images that reflect real life in a genuine and uncontrived way. She strives to create images that radiate authenticity and reflect the true personalities of those she is photographing. She is a 2010 Graduate of RMSP's Career Training Program and worked as a Summer Intensive teaching assistant in 2011. Mary finds sharing her passion for photography with others both fun and rewarding. She currently resides in Westminster, Maryland. Her work has been featured on The Knot, Grey Likes Weddings, United with Love, Mountainside Bride, Charm City Wed, Bayside Bride and other wedding blogs & publications.



Course Schedule


8:00 - 8:30 a.m.Check-in
8:30 - 8:45 a.m.Orientation
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.Session 1: Camera Techniques & Exposure (Choose which track is right for you)


  • Getting Comfortable with your Camera Controls
  • ISO, Shutter Speeds, F-stops
  • Understanding Depth of Field
  • Outsmarting Your Meter
  • Capturing Portraits with Soft Backgrounds
  • Focusing Options
  • Reading your Histogram



  • Getting Consistently Good Exposures
  • Zone System for Color
  • Metering Modes
  • Bracketing
  • Low Light and Night Photography
  • Lightroom Tips and Tricks
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.Lunch Break (on your own)
2:30 - 4:30 p.m.Session 2: Composition (large group lecture)
4:45 - 6:00 p.m.Session 3: Creating a Lightroom Workflow (large group lecture)


8:15 - 8:45 a.m.RMSP Workshops, Summer Intensive and Professional Intensive Info Session
8:45 - 10:45 a.m.Session 4: Understanding Light (Large group lecture)
11:00 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.Session 5: Genres (Landscape Track or People Track)
1:15 - 2:30 p.m.Lunch Break (on your own)
2:30 - 4:30 p.m.Session 6: Critique
4:30 - 5:00 p.m.Closing Session (Wrap up and giveaways)

Course Descriptions

Session 1: Camera Techniques & Exposure

Ansel Adams said it best when he said, “Technical mastery is the foundation of artistry.” Indeed, once you learn your camera and how to make it work for you, you will be in control of your own creativity.


Based on your existing skill level, this session will set the tone for the remainder of the weekend. If you choose the Basic track, you will learn the building blocks of photography such as ISO, shutter speeds, and f-stops and how they work in concert with one another to determine exposure. Dissecting each one, you learn the range of shutter speeds, which to use in order to stop motion, 1/2 and 1/3 stops, and what it means to “open up” or “stop down.” Talking about f-stops (aka: aperture), you learn the f-stop scale, what happens inside your lens when you change to a bigger or smaller number, and how depth of field is determined.

You will learn about metering light, the importance of 18% reflectance and how a grey card, or natural grey card, can help with exposure. By the end of the session you will understand the limitations of how the camera sees light and reflectance so that you can create consistently good exposures using your camera’s spot meter.  You’ll also have complete control over how you record motion and depth of field in your images.


If you come to the Weekend already having a working knowledge of your camera and understand how to shoot in manual mode, you will most likely want to choose the Intermediate track, which will cover more advanced topics. Your instructor will spend time talking about situations that confuse your camera’s meter, how your camera calculates exposure, and the immensely helpful Zone System of exposure, where it came from, and the difference between the Zone System for color and black and white. You will also learn how to read tones and place them on the zone scale. Referring to your own camera, you learn the difference between metering patterns such as center-weighted, matrix, partial and spot. Your instructor will go through a camera menu to explain some of the options available, discuss auto-exposure bracketing and discuss low-light and night photography.

Session 2: Composition

What is composition? What makes composition good or bad? As a photographer, how can you use certain elements to your compositional advantage? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered during this session.

There are many points that go into designing a great photo. Your instructor will talk about the importance of pre-visualization, understanding what draws a viewer’s eye through a photo – including tones, shapes, colors, repetition, leading lines and framing elements. You will learn about the rule of thirds and significant power points within an image. Symmetry vs. asymmetry, negative space, perspective, lens focal length and brightness all contribute to creating an effective composition. In addition to each, you will be introduced to color theory and how analogous, complimentary and monochromatic colors create or disrupt color harmony in an image.

Session 3: Creating a Lightroom Workflow

Adobe Lightroom allows photographers unprecedented, non-destructive control over both RAW and JPEG images. This session leads you through the important initial steps of image correction and enhancement. Topics include creating a step-by-step workflow beginning with the initial import, correcting color balance and exposure, converting your images to black and white, and editing your images through the use of curves and the hue/saturation, and luminance sliders. Learning to make both global and local enhancements to your images without leaving Lightroom allows you to further streamline your image processing. Learning basic retouching techniques allows you to fix blemishes in portraits or remove spots in your landscapes while applying the look of hand-coloring and adding vignettes allows your creativity to flourish.

Session 4: Understanding Light

As a photographer, understanding qualities of light is essential to creating photographs with impact. In this session, you learn invaluable lessons about one factor of photography that is universal to photographers in every genre and at every skill level.

Together with the entire Weekend group, your instructors provide you with a guided tour of light, and its many components. Starting from the top, you learn how light is described in photography. You will dig into some seemingly obvious terms such as brightness, contrast, and color to learn what they really refer to. You will learn how to control brightness and the pros and cons of each exposure control tool. Contrast can make or break a photo. Here, you will learn what contrast is, how your eye sees contrast vs. how your camera sees it, and when high or low contrast can be beneficial. Many things impact the quality of light including size, direction, distance from the source, weather and time of day. You will learn about each, and how to adapt to make them work for you. Finally, you get a primer on the basics of fill flash. Terms like TTl, ETTL and exposure compensation will make sense after this class.

Session 5: Genres


If your interests lie in capturing images of the great outdoors – be it wildlife or beautiful nature scenes around you – this track is right for you. There is a lot to cover in this session, which your instructors will do! You begin by learning what makes a landscape photo good vs. great. Then, you learn how to make them yourself by learning tools of the trade including cameras, tripods, lenses, backpacks and polarizing filters. You examine effective landscape compositions to see how horizon lines, the rule of thirds, camera position and lens choice all contribute to making images work. Your instructor discusses atmospheric conditions and how each plays a role in your photography: Cloudy days vs. sunny days, overall vs. detail shots, high angle of light vs. low angle. You’ve most likely heard of the “golden hours” in photography. But do you know what makes these hours so golden? Your will learn this as well as general guidelines for photographing twilight, sunrise and sunset. On top of that, you cover the basics of blending exposures into one image, how to shoot for these situations, and other pre- and post-capture considerations.


If you are more interested in working with human subjects to capture special moments, personality, and mood, this track is where you will want to be. One of the most important parts of photographing another person is establishing a rapport with them. Your instructor will speak about methods to use to approach your subject, how to connect with them and make them feel comfortable. You will learn the difference between a traditional portrait and an environmental portrait and when each might be called for. Lens and lighting choices are a big part of portrait photography. Through examples and demonstrations, you witness the effects of each first hand. Recalling the topics covered in the Light session, you get to see them in action here as the effects of light direction, temperature and source are displayed in this course. You learn composition for portraiture and how camera orientation, cropping, background choice, and the positioning of a subject’s eyes can make the difference between a portrait that works vs. one that doesn’t. Storytelling is a huge part of people photography. Capturing mood, expression, moment, and emotion in one image – as well as over a few images – are all important to tell a story to a viewer. After you have captured a great image, after-capture retouching can give your photos the last little bit of love they need in order to make them jump! Briefly going into Lightroom, your instructor will demonstrate global vs. local adjustments, and show a few retouching tips that can be effectively applied to most portraits.

Session 6: Critique

The sixth and final session of the weekend is also the most popular! This group critique is your chance to submit an image to be critiqued on the big screen by your two instructors. A way to see how you could have improved your image, this session also provides an opportunity for your instructor to reaffirm many of the topics covered in each session. You are encouraged to NOT show your most perfect image here. This is a chance to show an image with a few flaws so you can benefit from hearing – and seeing – what your instructors have to say about improving for next time.

We encourage you to participate in this critique! If you would like to receive feedback on an image, please bring one photo (preferably in JPEG format) loaded on a flash drive. (If you have more than one photo on your flash drive we will select only one to critique).

Meeting Space

Revel in two full days of photography instruction at RMSP’s Photo Weekend at the Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South.

Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South22406 Pacific Hwy SDes Moines, WA 98198UNITED STATES(888)




If you need overnight accommodations, a limited number of rooms are being held at a special group rate at the Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South from March 31-April 2, departing on April 3. Reservations can be made by calling the number below and identifying yourself as a Rocky Mountain School of Photography student or by clicking this link and following the on-screen instructions.

Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South22406 Pacific Hwy SDes Moines, WA 98198UNITED STATES(888)


Rates: $95 per night + tax (king or two queens).

Cutoff date: Make your reservations by March 20, 2017. After this date any remaining rooms will be released from the room block and reservations will be based on availability.



Parking is available at the hotel for $5 per day.



Participants are on their own for lunch. We will break for lunch from 1:00-2:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1:15-2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Brown Bag It
You are welcome to bring a lunch with you.

Please click here for a map of restaurants near the hotel.


Tuition Incentives

Weekend Intensive Incentive
Are you curious about Summer Intensive or Professional Intensive? Interested, but want to "try it before you buy it?" If you register for any 2017 Weekend Intensive course and then decide to register for Summer or Professional Intensive in 2017, we will apply your Weekend Intensive payment to your Summer or Professional Intensive tuition. This tuition adjustment will be applied automatically to your SI or PI balance.

Perks of Registering For A Weekend Intensive

EDU Advantage Program

By registering and completing any course with us, you will automatically be eligible for EDU status with B&H Photo. EDU members can save money on select items sold by B&H.

Creative Cloud Subscription

The software you use in your workflow is almost as crucial as your camera. Register for any RMSP course and you will receive a code to save 15% on a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription for the first year.

What Gear Do You Need?

Want a specific lens for a workshop? Need some extra gear fro your next shoot? Renting gear from Lens Pro To Go allows you to try before you buy! Upon registering for a course, you will receive a discount code for 10% off your next rental.